Elombah
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My Recent Dining Experiences

So I was in this restaurant on my quest to have some swallow one beautiful afternoon. As I entered the restaurant I located a seat, went to the convenience and before I could say “Jack robinson”, one fine babe had occupied the seat next to mine. Not deterred, I still took my rightful position and informed the lady that I was actually there before her, lest she thinks I have come to interrupt her space. The next thing she was on her phone and I knew she was obviously waiting for her date. My food came and I dug in without inviting her to join me since “na only me waka come! After a while, the friend arrived. He asked her whether she had ordered her food and she answered in the negative. That got me thinking. What if she orders the food and you don’t show up? And if that coincides with no money in her wallet, that would have turned into something else. The babe was smart to have waited joor. It reminded me of a movie we watched while growing up. A guy had taken a babe to the restaurant and as they ate, the guy excused himself to attend to his biological call and before the girl knew what was happening the bill landed on her. As the attendant handed the bill to the babe, she looked at him surprisingly and told him that “Dagidem shim rie ihe owula m choro, ofuta ya akwuo ugwo” (Dagidem said I should eat anything I want, and he will pay when he comes). Apparently the babe calls her friend “Dagidem” which translates “fall on me”. As she said that, the attendant responded, “ Idagidelanu ego taa” which translates “you have fallen on money today now”. You can imagine the embarrassment the babe went through. So this babe was smart not to “Dagide Ego” this time around.

The next one was the well dressed gentleman I met in a five star hotel’s restaurant. Remember I said “Five star” that is “Aka Ise”, (five oh, not mama put). It was breakfast time and he took some salad and two boiled eggs! (Which gentleman does that?). That was the first red flag for me. To my amazement, he broke one of the eggs and the next thing he took it whole with his left hand and off it went into his mouth! I was surprised because the suit and cutlery did not match what the guy just did in front of me. Then he started using his cutlery and I confirmed he did not attend any boarding school. And if he did, then not like the one I attended where the first thing we were thought was on the use of cutlery. The fork is to be by the left hand and the knife, the right. You needed to learn how to use those or else, some cane will “fall on you”. We later became so skilled that we could eat even garri with either knife or fork alone. That was illegal but one couldn’t help it especially with the constant carelessness leading to loss of those precious tools. This is one of the etiquette those that miss out on boarding schools miss in real life.

And if you think that the correct use of cutlery does not matter then I will point you to what happened to our own dear Madiba. My five star experience coincided with my reading the “Long walk to Freedom” by Nelson, nwa Mandela (the son of Mandela). Madiba is an excellent writer and the first few pages got me glued. He talked about how he almost starved in school when the boys and girls were asked to eat at the same dining given that he had not learnt how to use his cutlery. On another occasion, he was invited to the home of a girl he was “toasting” and the same embarrassment happened. He said the chicken kept dribbling him around the plate, he got frustrated. In fact the younger sister to the girl had purposefully arranged the visit to confirm to her sister that her “bae” was a local man and Madiba did not disappoint. But as they say, love can sometimes be blind and this one was. That was the only thing going for Madiba otherwise he may have lost out. I had the same chicken dribbling experience in secondary school. It was a boarding school and this was the early stages so we hadn’t perfected the act of eating with fork and knife. There was this weekend the old boys came to the school. My dad is an old boy but could not make it to the occasion. He had asked that I join one of the old boys and come back home since I had some appointment I cannot remember now. The old boys branched off to a restaurant in town for lunch after their meeting and I was in their company. I suspect the guardian old boy noticed the sweat and suffering of the young man beside him before he asked that I could use my phalanges if the damn thing was not respecting my cutlery skills. A gracious me complied without a second thought.

So whatever you are doing this weekend folks, make sure you learn your table manners and ensure you do not “Dagidele Ego” (do not incur expenses) this Christmas season.

Obidike Peter wrote from www.peterobidike.com and p_obidike@yahoo.com

Saturday 26th October 2019

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